Pilot Qualitative Study of Informal Teachers in Interprofessional Collaboration and Practice

Amy M. Westcott, Daniel R. Wolpaw, Janet M. Riddle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Context: Nonphysician members of the interprofessional palliative care team often participate in teaching physicians and others in the context of workplace learning due to the interprofessional collaborative nature of the specialty. Objectives: This pilot study examines the beliefs of the nonphysician members of the interprofessional team about teaching physicians-in-training, the disciplinary training and expertise that informs their teaching, and approaches to teaching in the workplace. Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted. All interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Initial open coding by two researchers identified the codes, and then the constant comparative method was used to find patterns by axial coding, categories, and themes within the data. Results: Of the 10 health care professionals involved with palliative medical education at one academic medical center, six enrolled in the pilot. Those who participated included chaplains, nurses, a social worker, and a physician assistant. Three major themes were identified from the informal teachers: 1) using professional identity as a foundation for teaching, 2) teaching through experiential learning or debriefing, and 3) teaching to perceived gaps in physician training. Conclusion: Nonphysician members of the interprofessional team interacted with physicians-in-training guided by their discipline-based skills and perspectives on patient care. They directed their informal teaching toward perceived educational gaps using reflection and debriefing. Future studies could explore the educational roles of health care professionals across diverse institutions and specialties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-111
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Nursing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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